a cappella SATB choir

Ms. Hagen's approach to this text is simple - purposely uncomplicated - allowing the text to be the focus. She keeps the vocal range quite small for most of the work, expanding only to word-paint certain passages such as those describing clothes filling with water. It is a lovely combination of precise text setting offset with surprising musical lines and dynamics that bring the varying emotions alternately receding into blank shock, and bubbling - even churning to the surface.

~Timothy Brown, singer, C4 ensemble

Perusal Score: 

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Order Sheet Music
Catalog Number: 
JH - C018
Total Pages: 
Premiere Date: 
Premiere Ensemble: 
C4 Ensemble

What a tremendous pleasure it was to premier Ms. Hagen's beautiful Ophelia with the C4 Ensemble! Her attention to text and storytelling is exceptional and, in Ophelia, she found just the right combination of intricacy and accessibility both in her rhythmic and harmonic setting. Using the full dynamic and color spectrum - whisper and soto voce to full on fortissimo - she created a piece that our audiences loved.

~ Timothy Brown, singer, C4 ensemble

Text Author or Source: 
William Shakespeare, public domain

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And mermaid-like a while they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears: